Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, April 13, 1916: It seemed as if evil forces were arrayed to torment us.”

–from Frank Hurley’s account published as “Shackleton’s Argonauts”—

“It seemed as if evil forces were arrayed to torment us. No sooner was one peril overcome than another rose in its place. Streams of ice fragments, borne along by surface currents or drive by the winds, were driven to the lee side of our floe. For several hours we staved off the ice with boat-hooks and paddles, and then, shortly after midnight, the wind suddenly changed and began to drive the boats back broadside on to the ice-spurs of the floe. . . .

“We huddled together, clasped in each other’s arms, so that we might glean a little warmth from each other’s bodies and consolation from whispered hopes. Where our bodies touched, the warmth thawed our frozen garment and, when we moved, the icy wind stabbed through us. Would the dawn never come—would the sun never rise again: Night seemed an eternity. . . .

“Dawn came at last. We were denied the cheer of a hot breakfast, for everything was iced and the sea was running high.”


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